This healthy sticky date pudding recipe comes with a twist of pumpkin for that extra cosy feel (and nutrients). Topped with luscious caramel sauce that soaks every pore of this moist, warmly spiced and date-sweetened cake, this dessert is worthy of your time. This is a paleo, dairy-free, grain-free and gluten-free sticky pudding that ticks all the boxes of the classic version. Serve with a dollop of cream or ice cream. PS. Great for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Pumpkin Sticky Date Pudding
I love taking recipes for my favourite comfort foods and desserts and making them a little healthier and more nutrient-dense. Since sticky date pudding is one of my all-time favourites, I wanted to adapt it in a way that didn’t take away from its much-loved qualities, even if it’s made with grain-free and dairy-free ingredients.
With the addition of pumpkin puree and naturally sweetened, this healthy sticky date pudding turned out beautifully soft and fluffy. I decided to make it more like a slice so it’s easy to cut into individual servings but you could also make it as a round cake or individual ramekin cakes.
Note on the pumpkin puree: You can make this with canned pumpkin puree, homemade puree or sweet potato puree instead.
Once cooked, the cake is poked with little holes and topped with a dairy-free, coconut milk-based caramel sauce soaking its sponge with that unmistakable flavour of sticky date pudding.
Wat Is Sticky Date Pudding?
Some of my readers will be very familiar with this dessert, many others might be wondering what is this cake and why am I so in love with it?
The popularity of sticky date pudding in Australia, New Zealand and the UK can be compared to the love Americans and Canadians feel for a pumpkin pie or pecan pie (I have a recipe for a pie that combines both here!). This is a traditional recipe for sticky date pudding.
To me, a good sticky date pudding, also known as sticky toffee pudding is like the ultimate sweet treat because it’s so moreish and decadent.
It’s a brownish sponge cake made with dates and warm spices like cinnamon and ginger and soaked in caramel sauce. It’s often enjoyed over the holiday season or after a big Sunday roast and is usually served with cream or vanilla ice cream (some people have it with custard but that’s just too rich for me).
How To Make Paleo & Gluten-Free Sticky Date Pudding
You will find the full list of ingredients, instructions and nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below. Here are some steps and process photos to guide you along. If you have any further questions about this recipe, leave a comment for me below.
Step 1. Soak the dates in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Then add to a food processor with ½ cup of the soaking water and pulse into a puree.
Step 2. Combine the flours, spices, baking spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add coconut oil (or soft butter) and beat with an electric whisk until fluffy and well combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time and beat to combine on medium speed.
Reduce speed to low and add half of the flour mixture, beating until combined. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla, beat and then add remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined (don’t over mix).
Step 3. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish. I used 2-litres, 8 x 8 inches, lined with parchment paper and greased lightly all over. Bake in the 170 C/ 375 F oven for about 40 minutes. The texture might feel moister than a regular cake but the toothpick should still come out clean.
Step 4. Make the caramel sauce while the cake is cooking. Use the thickened part from a can of coconut milk (the cream part) and mix with 3-4 tablespoons of the more liquid coconut milk from the same can, maple syrup, vanilla and salt.
Set over medium heat and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly so that it doesn’t burn. When the mixture starts to thicken and turn darker in colour, it’s ready. Set aside to cool, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge if making ahead of time.
Step 5. Remove the cake from the oven and pierce a few holes on the top using a wooden skewer. Pour half of the warmed-up sauce over the top and allow to soak for 20 minutes.
Serve warm with the remaining sauce and a side of whipped coconut cream or dairy-free ice cream of choice.
Sticky date cake soaked in sauce and the remaining toffee sauce can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day. Before serving, warm the cake in a 150 C / 300 oven for 10 minutes, and warm the sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat.
If storing for longer, don’t soak the cake and instead wrap the cake pan tightly with foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Then, warm up the cake in a 150 C / 300 oven for 15 minutes and warm up the sauce in a small pot. Pour half the sauce over the top and reserve the rest for serving so you can drizzle it on top of ice cream (if you wish).
More Healthy Dessert Recipes
- Pumpkin Pie With Pecan Crust & Topping (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Paleo)
- Paleo Christmas Pudding With Vanilla Custard
- Healthy Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding
- Citrus Drizzle Cake (Grain-Free, Nut-Free)
- Orange Almond Cake With Basil Cream
For the pudding slice:
- 10 Medjool dates pips-out
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 cup almond meal or almond flour
- 1/2 cup cassava or tapioca flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda bicarb soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup coconut oil room temperature or slightly softened (plus more for greasing the dish, or butter)
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 can pumpkin purée 400-410 grams / 14.5 oz., see notes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the caramel sauce:
- 1 can coconut milk full-fat, refrigerated
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 170 C / 335 F degrees. Lay a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of a 2-litre (about 2-quart, 8 x 8 inches) baking dish and grease the sides with a little oil or butter.
- Place Medjool dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 10-15 minutes to soften.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the dates and 1/2 cup of hot water they were soaking into a food processor and pulse until fairly smooth. Transfer the paste to a clean mixing bowl. You can also do this with a blender.
- Add 1/3 cup of softened coconut oil (or soft butter) and beat with an electric whisk until fluffy and well combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time and beat to combine on medium speed.
- Reduce speed to low and add half of the flour mixture, beating until combined. Add pumpkin and vanilla, beat and then add remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined (don't over mix).
- Transfer the batter to the prepared dish and bake until the cake is puffed and the toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes. The texture might feel a little wetter than a regular cake but the toothpick should still come out clean.
- Make the caramel sauce while the cake is cooking. Open the can of coconut milk and scoop out all of the thickened cream; it should be about 1/2 cup. Add to a small pot together with 3-4 tablespoons of the more liquid coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Set over medium heat and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly so that it doesn’t burn. When the mixture starts to thicken and turn darker in colour, it’s ready. Set aside to cool and store it in an airtight container in the fridge if making ahead of time.
- Remove the cake from the oven and pierce a few holes on the top using a wooden or metal skewer or with a fork. Pour half of the warmed-up sauce over the top and allow to soak for 20 minutes. Serve warm with the remaining sauce and a side of whipped coconut cream or dairy-free ice cream of choice.